By Dave Aeikens | January 13th, 2009
The Minnesota U.S. Senate recount has moved to courtrooom. Trailing Al Franken by 225 votes, Norm Coleman has exercised his legal right to challenge the recount result.
A three-judge panel will hear that case. This recount offers a tremendous opportunity in Minnesota to try cameras in the courtroom. A group of news media organizations, including Minnesota SPJ , is asking the state Supreme Court to loosen the restrictions on recording devices and cameras in the courtrooms. A decision is pending. Minnesota court rules require all parties to a court case to sign off on having cameras. Unless, the judge, defandant and both the prosecutor and defense lawyer agree, the cameras stay out.
One of the three judges in the recount is Elizabeth Hayden, who has been open to cameras in courtrooms previously. This special court hearing offers a great opportuntity to give cameras a try again. The recount has been one of the most open government processes I have seen. Opening the courtroom to cameras and recorders would continue the transparency that has given people faith in the recount process.
National SPJ has signed onto a letter that the Minnesota Associated Press is sending to the court asking it to be open to cameras and recording devices.